Okay, so maybe the headline’s a bit of an exaggeration about my age. Maybe I was only three years old when Licensed to Ill came out and was only really convinced that the Beastie Boys were a creative, vital, trend-setting-then-trend-trouncing act as a slick 14-year-old Foo Fighters fan who got bowled over by listening to Hello Nasty in a friend’s bedroom after smoking some… things… but still! I did my retroactive homework like a good JNCO-clad idiot and was soon pissing off my grandpa good and regularly with the “pops and clicks” of the Beasties’ entire catalog. And indeed, everyone I know has been bumping their tunes in the past week with renewed vigor following the sad passing of Adam “MCA” Yauchon May 4. So it’s no real suprise to hear Billboard report that the band’s entire catalog saw a pretty massive surge in sales.
Most significantly, Billboard has reported that their batshit crazy gem of a debut, Licensed to Ill — which originally hit no. 1 on March 7, 1987 and spent seven straight weeks there — re-entered at no. 18, with 19,000 sold (according to Nielsen SoundScan), which is up a monkey-brassing 802% from the previous week. And that’s only counting the week that ended on May 6 (two days after Yauch’s passing). Collectively, the band’s catalog sold 55,000 last week, which is up 1,235% from 4,000 the week previous, with Solid Gold Hits hitting no. 51 (up 806%), Paul’s Boutique hitting no. 56 (up 4,287%), the recent Hot Sauce Committee Part Two hitting no. 107 (up 1,150%), Ill Communication, hitting no. 109 (up 2,799%), Check Your Head hitting no. 124 (up 2,727%), and Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science hitting no. 141 (up 3,303%).
In the digital realm, the band sold a combined 151,000 downloads this past week (up from 14,000 the previous week, for a gain of 949%), with the best seller among the bunch being none other than “Brass Monkey,” which hit the Hot 100 at no. 48 with 15,000 downloads. And again, keep in mind that these sales are only measured up to May 6. It’ll probably get a whole lot more nuts when this week’s reports are in at the end of May 13. All in all, that’s pretty awesome, even if it does reflect the totally LAME previous absence of these records in a bunch of slackers’ collections. But whatever, the greater the public awareness of the fact that Monkey tastes “def when you pour it on ice”, the better, right?